Your dog is lost.
That scenario plays out many times each year here in Woodhaven. Sometimes, there is a happy ending. Sometimes, there is not.
Last week, 10-year old Noodles went missing from her home here in Woodhaven and her family was sick with worry. “We started walking up and down the block, looking around but she was nowhere to be found,” said Noodles' mom Karen. “She had just vanished. We were in disbelief, we couldn’t believe it was happening to us.”
When you travel around Woodhaven it is inevitable that you will see signs for lost pets, and you feel sad for those people and hope they find them. But it is altogether different when it is your pet that is missing. And so, the search for Noodles was on.
“I texted everybody I knew, asking them to keep their eye out for her,” Karen said. “At the same time, I contacted the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and Project Woodhaven through Facebook because I had seen them share pictures of lost dogs before.”
Social media is a terrific way to quickly spread the word in those first crucial minutes and hours after a loved member of the family has gone missing. Within the first few hours, Noodles’ picture was shared by over 150 people, reaching over 8,000 people, the vast majority of them residents of Woodhaven and the communities surrounding us.
“We were so humbled by the way the community reacted,” Karen said. “We had people offering to help us put up posters. It was amazing.”
So Karen made up some flyers and they were quickly posted on telephone poles in and around the neighborhood. But despite this lightning-fast mobilization, at the end of that first day, Noodles had not been found.
The family was heartbroken. Karen was unable to sleep, tossing and turning all night. “We kept thinking that we heard her barking outside,” she recalls. “It was a very bad night.”
During the first 18 hours of Noodles’ disappearance, Karen had gotten five calls from people saying they thought they had located her pup. But when each would send a picture, it wasn’t her Noodles. She was crushed, feeling despair, and losing hope.
But then she got a call from a woman who was walking to the train station in Ozone Park and saw a poster for a found dog and she thought it looked a lot like the lost dog she had been seeing on Facebook. By this time, the pictures had made their way to pages for dog lovers such as “K9 Korral Dog Run Friends At Forest Park” and “Bobbi and the Strays.”
Karen got in touch with the person who had found a dog on 97th Avenue in Ozone Park and this person texted her a picture. While waiting for the text to come through, Karen was bracing herself for yet another disappointment. But as soon as she saw the picture she began crying tears of relief – it was Noodles.
The location was a surprise because all reports and sighting had Noodles heading north, and Karen never dreamed that Noodles would have crossed Atlantic Avenue on her own. But she did, and within an hour Karen and her daughters were on 97th Avenue and they saw Noodles from a block away.
“We saw her and called out her name,” Karen said, recalling a very happy reunion. “She has this little happy-wiggle dance that she does when she’s excited, and she was jumping up and down all over us.”
Not all of these stories have a happy ending, but Noodles’ story did. Many thanks to all of the people who played a role in sharing Noodles’ picture – you all played a part in bringing her back home to her family.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association will hold their next Town Hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 18, at the American Legion Hall (89-02 91st Street). The guest speaker will be Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner from the 102 Precinct. We hope to see you there.